Changing squad sizes

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CGarr
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Joined: 16 Apr 2018, 21:39

Changing squad sizes

Postby CGarr » 15 Jan 2020, 03:06

This isn't really concerning the upcoming and current beta builds, but more of just a hypothetical to see if there's a different way we can approach the topic of squad size as a balancing factor. It is somewhat inspired by recent posts about the issues of making panzer elite infantry squads smaller, as well as conversations I've had with people concerning the usefulness of the British 4 man section and other small squads relative to their cost and vulnerability (officers and snipers come to mind, although the changes I am going to propose in this post probably shouldn't apply to them as they are special cases).

In general, I think everyone can agree that smaller squads are generally much more difficult to use in direct combat, as they are significantly more vulnerable to wipes and can realistically only stay in combat for half as long as a normal squad (unless the player wants to chance a wipe by staying in combat with 1 model). Their combat effectiveness also drops much faster, as each squad member represents a larger portion of the squad's overall damage potential.

This applies mainly to squads of 4 men or less, and the gap of effectiveness between a 4 or 6 man squads is much greater than the gap between 6 man squads and their larger counterparts (riflemen/section callins, PE squads with increased squad sizes. As such, it would make sense to instead increase the size of standard infantry squads to get the same effect in terms of balance without the severe drawbacks that cutting squads down to 4 men has. A good example of this in action would be the mainline infantry squads in the Europe at War mod. The riflemen squad in that mod, for example, is a 9 man squad with relatively weak individual stats in comparison to the models of the smaller, more elite squads. They will hold their own against other line infantry, trading evenly with weapon upgrades tipping the scale to either side.

Unlike BK, however, you are not stuck with the same relatively weak squads amongst much stronger elites in the late game. Your normal line infantry squads are large and can effectively make use of more weapon pickups/upgrades, with real lmg's (not the peashooter bar that we have here) being available. You can have line infantry running around with 3 1919/mg42's or even give them 3 AT launchers, putting them on more even ground with the enemy elite inf at long range or potentially vehicles. The tradeoff would be the large amount of muni spent on the upgrades that could have been used for other abilities.

As such, I think we should instead look into increasing the size of line infantry squads so that more specialized/elite squads can remain/increase in size without being overpowered. Additionally, something that could be incorporated into the potential halftrack changes suggested in another post alongside this would be a means of dropping weapons on the floor for a (potentially cheaper than normal) muni cost as a late game alternative to weapon upgrades on squads, allowing line infantry to equip a mix of weapons with expanded scaling potential.

I understand that this kind of rework would take a very long time to do and would require a good amount of testing (I'd be happy to participate in the latter), which is why I framed it as more of a hypothetical to see people's thoughts on the matter. I don't expect this sort of change to come anytime soon even if it is taken into consideration, and there are other issues that I would like to see worked on beforehand, but it does present a potential answer to the debates concerning squad sizes.

kwok
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Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby kwok » 15 Jan 2020, 03:29

First, thank you for thinking about alternatives instead of hard thrusting and always repeating the same idea. Not saying that I don’t hard thrust myself.... I just want to applaud alternative thinking.

Funny thing is I’ve TRIED this also, in the same mod that I said I used smaller squad sizes if I can add. The issue, at least in coh2, is squad AI is written for vcoh sizes which is six or below. There were really annoying scenarios where squads refused to garrison buildings and would get forever stuck trying to garrison, unselectable. As far as I know, currently no one on the dev team can write AI scripts so I’d have to heavily caution against this idea. 7 seems to work okay but coming up to 8 and 9 it gets really funky. In my mod I went up to 9 for “realism size” as well as it just fit better (you yourself I think are familiar with my essentially steel division idea).

Based on what I’ve read, to me it seems like the issue is JUST PE squads. Therefore maybe the solution is to get a consensus of balancing just the pgren squads to have more of a basic infantry role. Would THAT work?

Walderschmidt
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Joined: 27 Sep 2017, 12:42

Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby Walderschmidt » 15 Jan 2020, 07:39

I'd be down to try either, but I personally like CGar's idea more.

How funky does it get?

Wald

kwok
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Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby kwok » 15 Jan 2020, 08:15

Like I said, squads don’t garrison buildings and get locked trying to garrison but never going in. So they basically become unselectable, can’t shoot, and just keep dancing around the building until they die. You can sometimes trigger it kind of in coh1... like when they fail to go in and just wait around at the entrance for a bit.

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MarKr
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Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby MarKr » 15 Jan 2020, 11:15

Some problems I can think of in connection to bigger squads:
- bigger squads (more than 7 men) won't fit into several types of neutral buildings, including trenches, so garrisoning some structures would become impossible with such squads
- movement formations and positions behind cover are dependent on squad size, bigger squads will be more problematic to squeeze into some natual covers on maps. I think I heard some reports about problems with cover even on current PE 7 men squads so bigger ones would suffer from this even more.
- suppression will affect bigger squads more - especially in combination with the previous point. Suppression is gathered by each soldier in a squad and if one soldier stands outside cover, the whole squad gets suppressed faster.
- IF we find some way to use cover effectively for bigger squads, it would most likely mean we would need to cram more soldiers into the same small area, this would mean that more soldiers could get killed with a single shot of mortar or arty (so faster vetting up for these units). I don't have this confirmed but it feels like mortars and arty have some bonus to accuracy if they aim at clustered infantry, if this is true then then cramming more soldiers into cover would make mortars more effective (this is an indirect "issue" but it could still have significant impact)
- keeping "elites" at 6 men squads but increasing "basic" infantry squad sizes will be a nerf to "elites". Currently they are all 6-men squads and Elites have an upper hand because there is the same number of weapons of both sides but elites have better stats. When basic squads get bigger, elites will be outgunned. If we're talking 8 or 9 men squads then the 2 or 3 extra rifles increase the overall "DPS" of the squad - the squad fires more bullets, so more chances to hit something, with more hits there are more often chances to trigger critical hits ("one-shot kill) etc.
It also means that you could keep the larger squad in the field longer before retreating so it in a way keeps the issue of "smaller squads need to retreat sooner".
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kwok
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Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby kwok » 15 Jan 2020, 18:33

Double posting since it probably relates.

Another idea was making assault grenadiers SE only given Luft has elite inf and assuming the latest proposed TSupp goes through then TSupp would have strong “basic” inf. This relates because a lot of infantry in PE are changing so the PE inf build orders could quickly change, thus changing meta thus changing what could be the “underlying problem”. Just something to mention, so this topic might be put on the shelf until reworks are done.

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Warhawks97
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Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby Warhawks97 » 15 Jan 2020, 19:14

I was just about to answer to making squads larger than 6 men but markr answered the issues. That is one reason why i never get the 7 men upgrade on current PE units. Some buildings are just not available anymore unless one dude dies as well as having cover issues and so on.

Making PE basic inf not so elite anymore might be an option. But i do like the elite kind of thing PE has. Thats what made it so much fun to use in vcoh.

One thing i thought about is to give each squad the size required to perform its role. So if one becomes lets say the basic line inf, it will be 6 men strong. Other "special purpose" units will be smaller as they dont have to stay in the very frontline alone. Which squad becomes what would be left open.

My thought is, that the core line inf gets dropped to 5 men in order to make cost drops possible. The biggest issue here is simply that you fall far behind the other players in the "tec race" once you lose it early on. The goal here should be to get a cost cap to 240 MP. But i also dont want to make them standard pios. Thus a 5 men squad is maybe possible and if necessary to get the cost that low some sort of stats nerf.
Or, we can decide whether to get a 6 men squad or a 4 men squad out of the HQ. So there would be a 6 men squad and a 4 men version for the basic grens.

Then there would be the assault Grens. I would consider them as the main vehicle/Tank support unit and as such arent supposed to fight alone. Their tasks would be to take out AT guns, rep vehicles in the field, clearing buildings etc. As such i see a 4 men squad to be the most practical. Ammount of units matters here rather than pure number of men. More squads allows to perform multiple tasks at once that you usually encounter (eg rep tank while keeping enemie AT squads away). The lack of firepower for each squad is easily compensated by the vehicle they fight with. Additionally there will be a special transport HT to which they can retreat in order to stay together with other vehicles.

The Stormpios would be 4 or 5 men as they are usually just there to get over obstacales and placing mines and stuff. So you get also a cheap practical 240 MP squad fully loaded with MP40 by default. Quite usefull for urban combat and house jumping.

Utimately there will be the 7 men SS squad available in the barracks. Two can be build but they would lose sniper to drop cost and to put functionallity over Hyper-multirole. That would be for the hard head on battles where number is everything.

So you get everything from 4 to 7 men squads. Each squad size is based on the purpose. From mainline/build unit to pioneer squads and special grens that emphasize on mobility and vehicle support.

The Assault grens and SS squad would also start with 100% cap rate that gets buffed to 150% or even 175% cap rate. That way you can cap as fast as you can rush with your vehicles without losing momentum throughout the push.

Squad size increase upgrade would be removed as each squad would have its intended size.

MEFISTO
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Joined: 18 Jun 2016, 21:15

Re: Changing squad sizes

Postby MEFISTO » 20 Jan 2020, 22:50

kwok wrote:First, thank you for thinking about alternatives instead of hard thrusting and always repeating the same idea. Not saying that I don’t hard thrust myself.... I just want to applaud alternative thinking.

Funny thing is I’ve TRIED this also, in the same mod that I said I used smaller squad sizes if I can add. The issue, at least in coh2, is squad AI is written for vcoh sizes which is six or below. There were really annoying scenarios where squads refused to garrison buildings and would get forever stuck trying to garrison, unselectable. As far as I know, currently no one on the dev team can write AI scripts so I’d have to heavily caution against this idea. 7 seems to work okay but coming up to 8 and 9 it gets really funky. In my mod I went up to 9 for “realism size” as well as it just fit better (you yourself I think are familiar with my essentially steel division idea).

Based on what I’ve read, to me it seems like the issue is JUST PE squads. Therefore maybe the solution is to get a consensus of balancing just the pgren squads to have more of a basic infantry role. Would THAT work?

I like the squad size as it is right now, that is one of the a lot of things that make a difference between bk mod an vanilla CoH, It’s perfect as it is right now please don’t mess with it.


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